Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pueblo Nuevo Project Repairs

I promise a separate post on the hike we took across the suspension bridge and through the back country of rural Honduras, but I'm going to post this one first just to keep you coming back.

Tuesday we arrived at Pueblo Nuevo and met Santos, our primary partner at the village level. His wife made us lunch of chicken (fresh from their front yard) and rice and yucca. Delicioso! Then we gathered our tools, changed into our water clothes at the church, and went down the hill to the river bed. Our goals were three-fold:

1) to line the canal with a plastic liner to reduce the leakage and get more water to the generator. For a glimpse of what it looked like before, see this post.

2) to grease the bearings in the generator, or if needed, replace them with some that we brought.

3) to determine the functionality of the dump load controller, a little electronic control circuit housed in a water proof box on the bank of the river.

We had great success on goal #1 and made progress on goal #3. Goal #2 gets a post all its own later.

Here we began to implement an idea to stop the leaks of the canal. We had considered simply tarring or caulking the cracks, but since several villages downstream use this river as a source of drinking water, we wanted to try this option first. We used a garden hose sliced up into 1 inch pieces as a flexible, water-sealing washer.

David and I were nailing down the liner. The canal is about 45 feet long, and we were able to use a single piece of liner, about 15 feet of garden hose, and several pounds of nails.

This is a close up of the holder-downer. The mechanical engineers with me say they are really called "fasteners". Whatev.

Here the liner is installed, and the cool, uneven, village-crafted braces are remounted on top. The water was resumed, and it worked swell! Now it does not leak at all, and with some repairs made to the dam, we now have more than enough water for the generator.

The villagers constructed a good screen last year, but it was on its last legs so we made a new one with them. Ryan had a Gilligan's Island moment and decied they should make the frame out of bamboo. I must say it looks cool in an appropriate technology kind of way.

This was a great shot except it showed a little more than we wanted to see... butt I fixed it.

Lisa and Ryan get help from one of Santos's many sons.

This is what the screen looks like now. The Skipper would be so proud.

And here is a little video of the water spilling over the sluiceway because we are now capturing more than enough of the river to generate full power (1 kW).


LittleBear said...

That is so exciting! I was waiting for this post. I wish I could have been there though.

LittleBear said...

Also I thought I would say that it kinda looks a little like a water park now... which was one of the "ideas" we were throwing around when trying to figure out what to do with the extra electricity in Danta Uno. So you get extra points for that.

scott said...

master thomas (as i used to call you): you were one of my professors (one of my very few favorite teachers in my college experience) for the first two engineering classes at baylor in 03-04, but i've ended up at texas state for finance. nicole just gave me your blog. i've read a few of your blogs and i'm enjoying them.

thought i might let you know that i wanted to participate in your "religion in the matrix" book discussion, but i didn't find the time.